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Recommend Headphone $300-500

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi

I've been looking for a pair of headphones. In fact I was going to purchase the new Beat By Dre Pro headphones but I'm glad I decided to do some research before spurging $450 because I found this forum. Before I go on, I would like to thank you all for providing detailed reviews and information. I currently own a pair of in-ear Monster Turbine. I think it is quite good and still enjoy them and will continue to use them for commuting/studying in library purposes. However I think it's time for a good pair of headphones for home. I don't think I am willing to spend more than $300 to maximum of $500. Also I'm going to order the FiiO E7 portable dac/amp for my laptop/iphone.

I've been looking at Sennheiser HD650, Grado 325is, AKG K701/2, Beyerdynamic DT880 / DT990. I have not tried any of these headphones. I was leaning toward 325is until I went to a store called Hi-Fi Centre that sells Grado and Denon headphones. But the guy was so busy helping a customer he didn't even help me while I looked stupidly at the 325is for 5 minutes and left the store feeling unwanted. It was $125 overpriced too. By the way, what's with the foam on the 325is? It feels uncomfortable. I like the padding on Beyerdynamic's it looks very comfortable.

I enjoy listening to many genre of music. From rap to rock to trance. So could someone recommend me a headphone? It doesn't have to be from the list above. I would like to use it with the FiiO E7 (or if someone could recommend better usb dac/amp in the $100-200 range) connected to my laptop or ipod so if there is a compatible issue, just wanted to let you know so you can let me know :)

Again, thanks for everything.

Later

post #2 of 17

AD2K

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Do you mean Audio Technica ATH-AD2000? That's way over my price range. Thanks for your help though, I got to look at a nice headphone I can only drool over.

 

post #4 of 17

Yes thats the one. If you search for them used around here, they will be in your range. Heres one for 550 http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-AD2000-Dynamic-Headphones/dp/B0006OQY3C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301910894&sr=8-1

I had HD800,T1 HE5-LE etc. Sold all the other and kept the AD2K, there on par with all of them and extremely light and comfortable.

post #5 of 17
I love my HD650. Be aware that DT990 have bright highs and DT880 while not bright but not as detailed as DT990 are. I also heard K701 with two different setups and only setup with tube amp gave me sound i was looking for. I also heard my HD650 thru multiple setups and they sounded great with all of them but one.
post #6 of 17

And you're not going to tell us the one.

post #7 of 17
From just the E7, you're gonna want something not too hard to drive. I'd splurge on the E9 (to dock the E7 with a much more powerful amp) to truly raise the limits on what type of headphones you can get.

As it stands, willing to bet the Denon D2000 would suit your needs.
post #8 of 17

Warning! Controversial reply. Do not read if you have brand loyalties.  Everything is in my own opinion, and that of a few others.

 

 

I recommend the Sennheiser HD600.  It is nearly identical to the HD650, but with a slightly flatter freq. response (less bass), and slightly more harmonic distortion, which isn't audible.  It is also a lot less $.  You can get it for around $200-$230 used.

 

If you don't want the Sennheisers, I recommend the DT880 600 ohm.  It's very similar to the HD600, but has a bit more bass extension, isn't quite as flat frequency-wise, and has a peak around 8kHz which makes 's' and 't' sound louder than they should be in speech.

The DT990 is like the DT880, but has more bass, and an even bigger spike around 8kHz, and is less flat.

 

The AKG K701/702 by comparison is much more uncomfortable, with very little bass extension/volume and an unnaturally wide soundstage.

 

Grados are overpriced, poorly designed, look like they were made in a garage, and very uncomfortable.  Many people note that Grado has the largest diminishing returns vs. price.  Their headphones have very little soundstage and bass extension, but offer a flat frequency response in the treble and "forward" presentation which goes well with rock and poorly recorded music.  I recommend the SR60 for travel headphones, but you need to watch out for the earcups swiveling around and twisting the cords too much.

 

As far as amps/DACs go, they're overrated and your iPod should drive these headphones fine unless you like it really loud.  If it isn't, just make your own amp. I made a nice tube one for $250, the equivalent of that $900 "earmax pro" one, but even a $20 CMoy should be fine.  I'd steer clear of FiiO, it looks like it was made in a garage in China.  I currently use the Xonar Essence STX audio card for my PC.  It has a nice DAC and a headphone amp that is nearly the same as $500+ models I've tried such as the Heed Canamp.


Edited by PointyFox - 4/5/11 at 4:03pm
post #9 of 17

Ok, fair enough, but I guess I should give my own opinion.

 

Sennheiser headphones are extremely laid back. Their astronomical impedance almost guarantees unlistenable levels without an amp. They are though incredibly detailed. I would characterize their sound as sterile and laid back. Imagine yourself at the back of the theatre. That is where the Sennheisers are.

 

Here is where my opinion differs. Grados are my favorite. They have this edge, this quality about them that makes you want to break into dance and learn an instrument. Indeed, Grado phones are incredibly forward, seating you above the first row. The soundstage, as a result, is severely reduced, but the musicality is intact. I thought my Grados had terrific bass, even before the simple vent mods. It is quick and tight, thumping in your ears but not as to leave a headache. Treble is where Grados shine, though. I tried the 325is a few days ago with the intention of purchasing them, and contrary to popular belief, they are not overwhelmingly bright. In fact, they were not as bright as my Shure 440. It was plugged directly into my iPod, so it could not have been anything but the headphones. I don't know where people are getting it from, but the 325is are not riddled with sibilance. I'll know for sure though, as my pair are coming in the mail.

 

Regarding looks, who cares? So what if it was "made in a garage"? Granted, Grados do not have the stale, modern design of plastic and angles, but really, who cares? I don't care if a child made it out of paper and glue. I don't care if monkeys made it out of elephant manure. If it plugs into my iPod and pleases my ears as much as this, I couldn't care less.

post #10 of 17
Made in a garage? Wow. Riiiight.

The fact that he thinks any of these headphones (with the exception of Grados) would be worthwhile straight out of an Ipod pretty much renders his entire post useless.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 4/5/11 at 4:46pm
post #11 of 17
OP, You should read this carefully and fully before continuing down the rabbit hole. There are some very astute observations and advice from some very experienced members.

http://www.head-fi.org/wiki/a-hopefully-helpful-headphone-buying-guide-for-newbies-by-boomana

Edit: I'm assuming you have not read the above, I should not have.....but...if you have not....do so..
Edited by adktitan - 4/5/11 at 5:15pm
post #12 of 17


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

Made in a garage? Wow. Riiiight.

The fact that he thinks any of these headphones (with the exception of Grados) would be worthwhile straight out of an Ipod pretty much renders his entire post useless.

 

This is what I hate about "audiophiles".   God forbid anyone who likes music buys an iPod!

 

Anyway, you'd be surprised to know that iPods work better with high impedance headphones, not low impedance headphones like Grados. Grados only give an illusion of good sound quality because after listening to headphones with no soundstage/imaging for a while, people tend to forget that it exists.

 

http://members.chello.nl/~m.heijligers/ipod/Performance/measurements.html

 


 

 

 


Edited by PointyFox - 4/5/11 at 7:04pm
post #13 of 17



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowHydra View Post

Ok, fair enough, but I guess I should give my own opinion.

 

Sennheiser headphones are extremely laid back. Their astronomical impedance almost guarantees unlistenable levels without an amp. They are though incredibly detailed. I would characterize their sound as sterile and laid back. Imagine yourself at the back of the theatre. That is where the Sennheisers are.

 

 

 

Wow, there's so many things wrong with that paragraph I hardly know where to start. Sennheiser's are sterile? Taking the 650, the criticism it most often cops is that it's too warm and lush. Sterile it definitely ain't. As for "astronomical impedance almost guarantees unlistenable levels without an amp"--come on, I think you're just venting a little. We both know that high impedance doesn't necessarily mean hard to drive, and compared to the 600 ohm Beyer the Senn isn't even that high. And Senns put you at the back of the theatre? None that I've heard--they just don't put you in the performer's lap. In fact I'm not even sure I agree with you that Senns are "incredibly detailed", at least not my 650. Putting aside the 800, which I've not heard, that's never been a particular Senn trait.

 

In any case I would say Senns are rather less classifiable as a group than Grados, outside of the latter's top models. To just say "Sennheiser" you are seeming to include 800/650/600/598/558...and that's a huge variation in approach.

post #14 of 17

^ I agree with that, except I think Sennheiser headphones have just as much detail as any other top dynamic headphone.  A lot of other headphones have more accentuated treble, which many people mistake as more detail.  Everything is there on Sennheisers.  It's just smoother sounding and more natural.

post #15 of 17

Let me throw D5000 into the mix as well (if you like a punchy low-end and a silky treble). It is definitely in your price range.

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